Framework for Good Research Practice

Ghent University recognises its responsibility to ensure the highest standards of integrity, ethics, and professionalism are observed while doing research. This framework for good research practice sets out general principles and guidelines to promote good practice in research across all disciplines and fields of study. Good research practices apply throughout all phases of a research project and career, be it while doing research, preparing publications, collaborating with partners, performing assessment, undertaking societal outreach, supervising other researchers or leading a research unit.

In the conduct of all research, the university expects the general principles and standards to be understood and observed by all university employees and other researchers conducting research on university premises or under the auspices of Ghent University (hereafter referred to as researchers). The framework is relevant for researchers at all career stages (early career, postdoc, professors) and needs to be taken up as a shared responsibility.

This framework for good practice is general in nature; specific faculty guidelines may exist. Researchers employed at or affiliated with more than one institution may be expected to additionally comply with codes or guidelines at this other institution.

 

A ¦ B ¦ C ¦ D ¦ E ¦ F ¦ G ¦ H ¦ I ¦ L ¦ M ¦ N ¦ O ¦ P ¦ R ¦ S ¦ T ¦ W

Academic bibliography (Biblio)

Biblio is both the academic bibliography (overview of publications) and the institutional repository (online database with the full texts) of Ghent University. The university requires its (co-)authors to register their publications in Biblio. Both the author peer reviewed/postprint version as the publisher version are allowed.

Read more about Academic bibliography

Related topics: affiliation, copyright, open access, research communication

Access and Benefit Sharing

 see Genetic resources (originating from abroad)

Affiliation

When submitting a research output for publication, researchers must use one of the following affiliation tags:

  • Ghent University
  • UGent
  • Universiteit Gent
  • Ghent University Hospital
  • UZGent
  • Universiteit Gent, Campus Kortrijk
  • Ghent University, Campus Kortrijk
  • UGent, Campus Kortrijk
  • Ghent University Global Campus, Songdo

It is insufficient to only list the faculty, department, or research unit as the author's affiliation.

Read more about Affiliation

Related topics: academic bibliography, authorship, ORCID

ALLEA code

see Research integrity

Appropriate behaviour

At Ghent University everyone is expected to interact with one another in a caring and respectful manner.

  • One specific code of conduct lays down guidelines which the university considers important in the broad context of interpersonal behaviour
  • Another code of conduct lays down the guidelines which should contribute to the elimination of discrimination and to the individual development of the mutual contacts and mutual enrichment between university members in order to promote a community of diverse backgrounds.

Related topics: leadership and supervision, psychosocial well-being

Animals in research

Ghent University believes that research using (laboratory) animals has an added value for the development of knowledge which benefits humans and animals.

This belief goes hand in hand with the requested search for alternative research methods. As far as possible, researchers should aim for a research setting without laboratory animals. When using laboratory animals, researchers should try to find ways to reduce the number of laboratory animals and the suffering and/or distress these animals experience. The use of laboratory animals for research purposes has to comply with national and EU regulations and needs to be approved by an ethics commission before the start of the research.

Read more about Animals in research

Related topics: ethics in research

Authorship

According to the ALLEA code, all authors are fully responsible for the content of a publication, unless otherwise specified.

  • All authors agree on the sequence of authorship, acknowledging that authorship itself is based on a significant contribution to the design of the research, relevant data collection, or the analysis or interpretation of the results. Authors acknowledge important work and intellectual contributions of others, including collaborators, assistants, and funders, who have influenced the reported research in appropriate form, and cite related work correctly.
  • Researchers adhere to the same criteria as those detailed above whether they publish in a subscription journal, an open access journal or in any other alternative publication form.
  • Who may be named as an author should be discussed at the outset (or at least as early as possible) of a collaboration.

To help researchers navigate this issue ten tips have been collected. Also, specific provisions have been developed by a.o. journals, funding agencies, academic organizations and the faculties at Ghent University.

Read more about Authorship

Related topics: affiliation, ethics in research, open access, research integrity

AVG

see Personal data

Biobank

A biobank stores human biological material, together with data on the material and its donor(s). The collection and storage of human biological material for scientific research needs to comply with these regulatory requirements:

  • every collection and storage of human biological material for scientific research needs to obtain an ethics approval
  • all biobanks need to be registered with the Federal Agency for Medicines and Health Products (FAMHP). In collaboration with HIRUZ (UZ Gent) Ghent University has established a central biobank registry and facilitates the central registration with FAMHP. Ghent University and Ghent University Hospital researchers need to register their biobank.

Read more about Biobanks

Related topics: genetic resources, human research

Clinical studies

see Human research

Codex

The Codex aggregates the many regulations and codes of conduct that apply within Ghent University: https://codex.ugent.be

Combining research with other activities

Professorial staff is expected to take up institutional and societal engagement. But beyond that, researchers might want to combine their job or fellowship at Ghent University with other paid or unpaid activities. 

  • Before taking up any kind of other professional activities or ‘secondary employment’ (as an independent professional, freelancer, employee, or otherwise), researchers should ensure that they are allowed to do so according to the regulations of Ghent University and/or their funder. In some cases, such activities need to be formally requested and approved, or registered. Researchers should in all circumstances guarantee that they are sufficiently available (time-wise) to carry out their tasks and assignments at Ghent University. They should also ensure that their secondary activities do not cause a conflict of interest.
  • Researchers – in particular PhD candidates and postdoctoral researchers – who are considering doing a temporary assignment (eg. internship or secondment), should make sure that they are allowed to do so.
  • Researchers who want to combine their job or fellowship with studies, need to ensure that Ghent University and/or their funder allows them to do so.

Secondary employment regulations per (staff) category:

Related topics: conflict of interest, public engagement

Commercialisation

Commercialisation refers to the process through which ideas or research are transformed into marketable products, capital gains, income from licences and/or revenue from the sale of new products.

Since the university in general does not have the facilities for manufacturing, selling and distributing products, commercialisation almost always involves a third party. This can be achieved either by the university licensing intellectual property to an existing company or setting up a new spin-out company dedicated to developing and exploiting the intellectual property.

All research results that can create value are to be reported to the Technology Transfer Office (Research Department) prior to publication or presentation in whichever shape or form.

Read more about Commercialisation

Related topics: copyright, dual-use, intellectual property 

Confidentiality

Confidentiality refers to the duty or explicit (contractual) obligation of a researcher or third party entrusted with information to keep that information private.

Data or information is confidential when the dissemination of the data is unlawful and/or may harm the owner, the persons concerned, the business processes or the image of the institution. Personal data and research results that can create value (in terms of commercialisation and/or social implementation) are classified as confidential information. The processing of all personal data is subject to the GDPR.

General rules on information security should always be applied, but depending on their risk level, confidential data often require extra measures to ensure their security both during and after the research project.

Researchers should obtain appropriate approval before disclosing confidential information. To formalize or enforce confidentiality, a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) can be signed. Confidentiality clauses are typically included, in for example, the peer review process.

Related topics: information security, intellectual property, non-disclosure agreement, peer review, personal data

Confidential advisors

see Psychosocial well-being

Confidential data

see Confidentiality

Conflict of interest

A conflict of interest is any kind of situation in which a researcher’s interests come together and could influence his or her professional behaviour or judgment. These interests can for instance be financial (e.g., secondary employment, research funding coming from private companies, stock ownership), non-financial (e.g., receiving product samples, media attention), or personal (e.g., family relationships, career ambitions).

Although a conflict of interest in itself is not necessarily a problem, researchers should be aware of all interests that could influence their professional behaviour or judgment. If possible, they should avoid potential problematic conflicts of interest and, if necessary, withdraw from taking up a given role.

It is the responsibility of the researchers to always be transparent about all conflicts of interest, whether of a legal, ethical, moral, financial, personal or other nature. For Life Sciences the framework of the International Committee of Medical Journal editors (ICMJE) must be followed, but potentially this framework offers guidance for all disciplines.

In all cases, the funding of the research must be mentioned.

It is necessary to be as detailed and specific as possible to describe any of the conflicts of interest.
Members of Ghent University’s staff (this does not apply to PhD scholarship recipients) are required to act according to the code of conduct regarding conflicts of interest and to declare conflicts of interest. They should also ask permission to take a (direct or indirect) capital investment or any other financial or ownership interest in a Ghent University Association spin-off or a Ghent University Hospital spin-off.

Read more about Conflict of interest

Related topics: research integrity

Copyright

Researchers are subject to copyright law, both when they make use of the work of others and when they publish their research results in an article or presentation. Researchers who want to use the work of others are required to get the explicit consent of the author(s) or the copyright holder(s) whenever applicable. In their capacity as authors, researchers may transfer their copyright to a publisher. In that case, they should be well aware of the consequences this may have.

Read more about Copyright

Related topics: commercialisation, intellectual property, open access

Data management plan

A Data Management Plan (DMP) is a document specifying how research data will be handled both during and after a research project, taking into account what is appropriate given the kind of data being generated or used. It is seen as a good practice in Research Data Management.

A DMP identifies key actions and strategies to ensure that research data are of a high-quality, secure, sustainable, and – to the extent possible – accessible and reusable.

Read more about Data Management Plan

Related topics: open science, research data, research data management

Dissemination

see Research communication

DORA

see Research assessment

Dual-use

Dual-use research is research involving goods, software or technology which are useful for both civil and military application. Dual-use research may be carried out at Ghent University, provided that:

  • The use of the research results for civil applications is not made impossible.
  • The research does not impact negatively on human rights.
  • Due care is taken to avoid misuse of the research at a later stage.

Ghent university does not engage in research which is useful only for military purposes.

All research proposals involving dual-use goods, software or technology must be reported to Ghent University’s Dual-use Contact Point and must comply with the university’s dual-use research policy. The Dual-use Contact Point will help researchers with the necessary ethics approval and administration (e.g. when applying for a mandatory export license when sharing dual-use technology) of the research.

Read more about Dual-use

Related topics: commercialisation, ethics in research

Ethics in research

By actively adhering to the ethical principles and professional standards, researchers continue to improve the responsible practice of research. Ethical norms help to ensure that research subjects are handled with care and respect; researchers have due regard for the health, safety and welfare of all those connected with the research and can be held accountable for it. Linked to these ethical norms, research promotes a variety of important moral and social values, such as social responsibility, human rights, animal welfare, compliance with the law, and public health and safety.

Ethics in research is therefore a multi-layered concept which brings together considerations such as the question on the necessity of certain research, the overall attitude of researchers and the way they approach and/or design their research, the standards for behaviour in a certain discipline, the formal compliance with ethical and legal guidelines and procedures (including requesting and obtaining an ethics approval for a specific research project).

The following topics can be found as separate entries in this framework:

An ethics approval is legally obliged in case of animal research and human research (including collection and storage of human biological material).

Read more about Ethics in research

Related topics: health and safety, research integrity

External funding

It is important that the interests of all stakeholders as well as the interests and reputation of the individual applicant and the university as a whole are safeguarded when seeking and accepting external funding. 

Before submitting a research funding proposal to an external funding agency, researchers must therefore seek approval of the application by the advisors in the funding units of the Research Department. They will help to draw up a budget according to the funding agency’s rules and regulations, check whether the funding call criteria are met, request a financial check and advise on all relevant matters regarding the application procedure.

Read more about External funding

Feedback and evaluation

Ghent University has several formal and informal evaluation and feedback mechanisms in place. Feedback is seen as a powerful lever for appreciation, motivation and growth, and is an important mechanism in preventing misunderstandings and conflicts. It can be provided ad hoc between employees and managers or between colleagues.

Feedback can also be integrated in formal evaluation procedures. Specific career evaluation policies – with dedicated requirements, aims, procedures and timelines – apply to professorial staff, assistant academic staff and research staff. PhD students are required to submit an annual progress report. Externally funded researchers are also evaluated by their funding agency. These formal evaluations can be crucial for career progression and/or for the continuation of the research project.

Read more about Feedback and Career aspects

Related topics: psychosocial well-being, research assessment, training and researcher development

Fieldwork

When conducting fieldwork or other research activities off-campus and abroad, researchers must act according to the highest professional standards. Ghent University still bears responsibility for the safety of its staff and/or students in the field, as well as others impacted by their activities. Researchers should act according to local law but should also regard Belgian and EU legislation as minimum standard.

Researchers should at all times respect local cultures, attitudes and expectations. Working with research participants in other countries, especially non-EU or developing countries, can raise specific ethical issues that require an ethical approval. When collecting and/or processing personal data from non-EU citizens, researchers also need to comply with the European privacy legislation (GDPR).

There is a variety of permits and agreements that should be arranged prior to (or sometimes during) the fieldwork. These may include: travel documents such as visa, cooperation agreements with local partners, research permits, permits to enter or conduct research in regulated areas (natural parks, indigenous reserves, etc.), sampling permits, export permits (from the country one visits), access and benefit sharing documents (cf. Nagoya Protocol), import documents (Belgium).
Researchers are encouraged to conduct a prior risk assessment for themselves and any other people involved in the fieldwork (Ghent University staff, students, hired personnel, participants, …). Risk reduction also includes proper preparation, vaccinations, proper insurance, protective and work equipment, first aid and emergency procedures, local contact and/or local co-operation.

Considering the impact of sampling is an important ethical reflection: does the benefit of removing samples outweigh the negative impact of the sampling, either on the resources or on the environment? It is recommended to stimulate transnational cooperation rather than extracting samples or information unilaterally or uni-directionally.

Several of the guidelines mentioned also apply to other off-campus activities, such as research visits, meetings, or other (also private) activities linked to Ghent University activities abroad or on the field.

Related topics: ethics in research, genetic resources, health and safety, personal data

Financial management

All researchers should adhere to the terms and conditions of any grant or contract related to a project. They should also comply with the university’s guidelines regarding the purchasing or procurement of materials, equipment or other resources, and the hiring of staff. Finally, they should co-operate with any legitimate external or internal monitoring or audit of finances relating to the project.

Ghent University uses SAP as financial project management system for all types of projects and financial transactions and has introduced a front office model which will lead to better support of researchers by pooling knowledge and skills.

Read more about Financial management

Related topics: research information system

Genetic resources (originating from abroad)

Genetic resources include living or dead organisms (such as plants, animals, bacteria, etc.) or parts or derivatives thereof. Researchers accessing genetic resources (originating from abroad) may need to comply with various Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) legislation. ABS legislation also applies to the access of traditional knowledge (i.e. knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities embodying traditional lifestyles relevant for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity).

National ABS regulation from the country of origin may stipulate requirements and conditions related to the use of (elements of) their biodiversity. Many countries are party to the Nagoya Protocol, which provides a legal framework for ABS implementation. The EU Regulation related to the Nagoya Protocol stipulates that users of genetic resources must obtain prior informed consent from the country of origin for access and use of the material.

Contractual arrangements must be made with the country of origin to share the benefits derived from the use of the genetic resources before the research starts. These requirements may range from extensive and complex to minimal and administrative. Researchers must gather and keep proof of the exercised due diligence.

Read more about Genetic resources

Related topics: ethics in research, material transfer agreement

GDPR

see Personal data

GISMO

The Ghent University Research Information System or GISMO is available to researchers to facilitate the experience of applying for and managing grants and outputs, and of curating one’s academic cv. Access to GISMO: https://research.ugent.be.

All active Ghent University researchers are obliged to indicate at least one research discipline in their profile tab.

Read more about GISMO

Related topics: ORCID

Hazardous substances

see Health and safety

Health and safety

Research may involve potentially hazardous situations, e.g. the use of potentially harmful equipment, substances or organisms. The safety of participants and of researchers and other personnel must be given priority at all times, and health and safety regulations must be strictly observed. Relevant to their research, researchers should be familiar with, and comply with, health and safety policy and standards and codes set forth both by the university and by their research unit.

Appropriate and thorough risk assessments must in particular be undertaken when research involves potentially harmful material or might cause harm to the environment. Appropriate steps as well as procedures adopted to remove, reduce or manage the risks effectively should be put in place.

Support and resources for risk assessments are available via the Internal Health and Safety Office and Environmental Office.

Read more about Laboratory rules and Work-related accidents

Related topics: psychosocial well-being

HR coaches

see Psychosocial well-being

Human research

All research involving human participants, material and/or data must comply with the relevant legal and ethical requirements. Particular care must be taken with research involving vulnerable groups (such as the very elderly, children and those suffering from mental illness), and with covert studies or other projects which do not involve full disclosure to participants.

All human experiments need an obligatory approval of an ethics commission before the start of the research. The Commission for Medical Ethics (or (Medical) Ethics Committee) is situated in the faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences and deals with requests concerning human patients coming from all faculties.

Researchers engaging in clinical studies are required to register their projects with a designated contact point before applying for funding.

Related topics: ethics in research, genetic resources

Human rights

In order to prevent contributing to, or benefiting from, human rights violations, all research collaborations must be subject to a human rights impact assessment. The assessment checks whether the activities might contribute to human rights violations or whether the partner is involved in human rights violations.

Moreover, to allow Ghent University to respond to future human rights violations, cooperation agreements contain a human rights clause. This enables Ghent University to terminate a collaboration when the partner is involved in a serious or systematic violation of human rights.

A Human Rights Policy Committee advises researchers on planned collaborations.

Read more about Human rights

Related topics: ethics in research

Impact

Impact is defined as the (demonstrable) contribution of research. This can limit itself to academic or scientific impact (i.e. shifting understanding and advancing scientific method, theory and application across and within disciplines) but in most cases impact means the effects research has on the economy and the rest of society. The process that underlies impact is referred to as (societal) value creation, although many other concepts are widely uses such as knowledge exchange or mobilization. The activities undertaken within this process (or ‘pathways to impact’) are also varied, e.g. public engagement, science communication, action research, technology transfer etc.

Read more about Impact

Related topics: media engagement, public engagement, research assessment, research communication

Information security

Information is an asset that is extremely valuable in all business processes of Ghent University. When processing, storing, sharing and sending information, researchers should appropriately secure their data and apply the information security policy of Ghent University. Special attention should go to securing confidential, personal or sensitive information. Depending on their risk level, these data often require extra measures to ensure their security (confidentiality, integrity and availability) both during and after the research project.

Read more about Information security

Related topics: personal data,

Informed consent

When research involves human participants, researchers need their informed consent for participation in the research. In an informed consent process, participants are provided with full and comprehensible information about the main aspects of the research and if applicable, the processing of personal data. They are also given clear assurance that participation is voluntary and can be terminated at all times. Afterwards, their agreement to participate is indicated by a specific form of consent, e.g. a signature on a consent form, an oral consent.

In the declaration of consent participants should be asked for their permission to: participate in the study, be re-contacted in the future (if applicable), archive their data and if necessary, publish the data and/or make the data available for future research.

If the processing of personal data within a research project is based on consent as the legal ground, researchers additionally need to ask explicit consent to collect and process the personal data from their research participants. In this case researchers need to make sure that this consent and the information provided to the participants, meet several conditions to be legal.

Read more about Informed consent

Related topics: ethics in research, human research, personal data

Intellectual property

Ghent University wants to protect the intellectual property (IP) rights which are the result of research performed at the university, as well as safeguard the IP rights of third parties.

Researchers are required to take all appropriate steps to protect the IP rights arising from their own work, in accordance with the General Research and Co-operation Regulations of Ghent University Association. They should consult the Technology Transfer Office when developing an appropriate IP protection and exploitation strategy, before their research results are made public through any kind of publication or presentation.

Read more about IP support

Researchers should also seek the assistance of the Technology Transfer Office if they want to provide or receive research materials to and from other institutions or corporate entities, including (but not limited to) information that needs to be kept confidential. The Technology Transfer Office will provide legal assistance with regard to the drafting and negotiating of the appropriate contracts (e.g., Non-Disclosure Agreement, Material Transfer Agreement).

Read more about Legal support

Notwithstanding the requirements regarding the protection of IP, researchers are expected to communicate and disseminate their research findings.

Related topics: commercialisation, confidentiality, material transfer agreement, non-disclosure agreement, open access, open science, research communication

Internship

see Combining research with other activities

Laboratory rules

see Health and safety

Leadership and supervision

Leadership at Ghent University comprises a wide range of responsibilities, roles and commitments. Senior researchers (in particular department chairs, group leaders and principal investigators) are expected to create a sound research environment in which good research practices are promoted and in which all researchers can develop their research project as well as themselves. For PhD candidates, the Faculty officially appoints one or more PhD supervisors and/or a doctoral guidance committee. The mutual expectations and responsibilities of all parties involved in a PhD trajectory are made explicit in the Charter for doctoral students and supervisors.

Read more about Leadership and supervision

Related topics: appropriate behaviour, feedback and evaluation, psychosocial well-being

Material transfer agreement

A Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) is a contract that defines proprietary protection when either providing or receiving research materials to and from other institutions or corporate entities. Research materials include, but are not limited to, cell lines, cultures, bacteria, nucleotides, proteins, transgenic animals, pharmaceuticals, or chemicals. Apart from stipulating the ownership of material, it also often includes use limitation, intellectual property protection and confidentiality clauses (cf. non-disclosure agreement). Each exchange of proprietary research material requires an MTA. Other exchanges also often benefit from a material transfer agreement.

Read more about Material transfer agreement

Related topics: ethics in research, genetic resources, intellectual property, non-disclosure agreement

Media engagement

Working with the media can help to inform and educate different groups, inspire people about new discoveries or explain poorly understood issues. To be effective it requires careful planning and consideration. Researchers looking for advise when drafting a press release or planning a media strategy can turn to the Press Office.

Read more about Media engagement (in Dutch)

Related topics:affiliation, public engagement

Military application of research

see Dual-use

Nagoya Protocol

see Genetical resources (originating from abroad)

Non-disclosure agreement

A non-disclosure agreement (NDA) is a contract that protects confidential data, proprietary information and/or intellectual property. It is typically signed when receiving, providing or exchanging information that needs to be kept confidential, or can be part of a project or consortium contract. It can be signed between two (or more) institutions or corporate businesses (most often a mutually agreed non-disclosure agreement). Another type of non-disclosure agreement can exist between an employer and its employee.

Read more about Non-disclosure agreement

Related topics: confidentiality, intellectual property

Off-campus activities

see Fieldwork

Ombudspersons

see Psychosocial well-being

Open Access

Open Access refers to the practice of making research results available online to readers inside and outside the research community in order to maximise the impact of the research. Researchers can publish directly in an Open Access journal or they can deposit an Open Access version of a publication in a repository such as the academic bibliography Biblio (so-called self-archiving).

Ghent University has an Immediate deposit / Optional Open Access mandate, which means every scholarly publication should be deposited in Biblio and, if possible, be made available in Open Access. Some funding agencies require that their beneficiaries ensure Open Access to all (peer-reviewed) publications relating to the research funded by the agency.

If applicable, researchers should take all appropriate steps to protect the intellectual property rights arising from the research before making their research results public.

Ghent University researchers have access to many Open Access journals and databases through the University Library.

Read more about Open Access

Related topics: academic bibliography, impact, open science

Open Science

Ghent University is committed to supporting Open Science. Open Science includes open access to research output and educational resources but also engaging non-professional scholars in research (for example through citizen science). Researchers who engage in Open Science activities should take into consideration requirements regarding, e.g., intellectual property and the protection of personal data.

Read more about Open Science

Related topics: intellectual property, open access, personal data, public engagement, research data

ORCID

ORCID is a unique identifier which can be added to a wide range of research material including grants, research outputs and datasets to ensure work is attributed to the appropriate researcher and distinguishable from that of other researchers.

All active researchers at Ghent University must register for an ORCID and include it in their grant proposals (Special Research Fund, Industrial Research Fund, and Research Foundation Flanders) and in their research outputs wherever possible.

Due to the wide range of potential uses of the ORCID, it is advisable to create an ORCID before the start of research. The possibility to create and connect an ORCID is available via GISMO. The ORCID profile must be set to ‘public’ in order for it to be consulted during assessment procedures.

Read more about ORCID

Related topics: GISMO, open science, research communication

Peer review

Peer review (also known as refereeing) is the process of subjecting an author's scholarly work, research, or ideas to the scrutiny of others who are experts in the same field.

Ghent University encourages researchers not only to publish in high-quality peer reviewed journals, but also to act as peer reviewers for grant applications, journals, other forms of publications and ethical reviews. Peer review must be carried out to the highest professional standards and in accordance with the guidelines of the organization for which the work is being carried out. The confidentiality of materials being reviewed should be maintained at all times.

Related topics: confidentiality, conflict of interest, research assessment, research communication, research integrity

Personal data

In research projects where personal data are collected and/or processed researchers must meet the requirements of the European privacy legislation, i.e. the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR, known as AVG in Dutch), and the Generic Code of Conduct for the processing of personal data and confidential information of Ghent University.

Read more about Data protection

Related topics: confidentiality, research data

Privacy

see Personal data

Psychosocial well-being

Ghent University highly values the good mental health and psychosocial well-being of all its researchers. Trustpunt is the university’s dedicated point of contact for all work-related mental well-being issues. Trustpunt offers online information as well as training sessions on how to deal with issues such as fear of failure, conflict, unwanted behavior, stress and burnout. Specific guidance is available for supervisors on how to address well-being issues within their team.

Researchers can turn to the university’s confidential advisors and to the faculty’s confidential contacts for individual support. They can also discuss psychosocial problems with an external prevention officer psychosocial aspects. PhD researchers who are having difficulties which they feel unable to discuss with their supervisor can contact their faculty ombudsperson for doctoral students or the institutional ombuds office. HR coaches at the Personnel Department can help researchers to discuss career options.

Read more about Psychosocial well-being

Public engagement

Ghent University is strongly committed to achieving impact through excellent research and considers it good practice to target communication and public engagement at a range of relevant audiences, as well as allow for co-creation of knowledge. Researchers should make all reasonable attempts to maximize the impact of their work, whether this involves the academic community, potential users or the public.

Read more about Public engagement

Related topics: impact, open science, research communication

Publishers

see Copyright

Purchases

Purchasing and expenditure of funds must take place in accordance with the terms and conditions of any grant or contract held for the research and the university’s financial regulations.

Read more about Purchases (in Dutch)

Related topics: financial management

Research assessment

Research assessment refers to the evaluation of the quality and impact of research. Research assessment is at the core of the academic rewards and incentives system. It plays a key role in the recruitment and promotion of researchers, in the evaluation of research groups and institutions, in the distribution of research funding etc. A wide variety of research outputs and outcomes (scholarly publications, data and software, influence on policy and practice, public engagement etc.) can be evaluated, using qualitative and/or quantitative methodologies (including the application of bibliometric indicators and peer review).

In order to promote appropriate evaluation methodologies for a wide range of evaluation purposes Ghent University has developed guiding principles for the evaluation of research (including guidance on the responsible use of indicators, and a portfolio of research dimensions).

Read more about Research assesment

Related topics: feedback and evaluation, impact, peer review, public engagement, research communication

Research communication

Researchers are expected to communicate about their research. Ghent University respects the researchers’ right to select the most appropriate route and method for the dissemination of their research. Researchers are invited to use a variety of channels and tools to maximise the impact of their research. They should not limit themselves to scholarly communication (e.g., peer-reviewed scholarly publications or presentations at academic conferences) or to research results. Researchers can, for instance, also undertake public engagement or other activities as pathways to impact. 

Researchers are expected to respect the Open Access policy of Ghent University and (if applicable) of their funding agency. Before their research results are made public, they should take all appropriate steps to protect the intellectual property rights arising from the research.

Related topics: authorship, impact, intellectual property, open access, peer review, public engagement, research assessment

Research data

In the context of Research Data Management (RDM), data sharing refers to the practice of publicly sharing data from completed (parts of) research, i.e. outside a project or research team. Sharing research data is not an all-or-nothing choice, but a spectrum. It ranges from making data fully open on one end, to keeping them fully closed on the other, with various possible forms of restricted/controlled access in-between. 

Read more about Data sharing

When considering data sharing, it is important to adhere as much as possible to the FAIR principles. These principles describe attributes that enable and enhance the reuse of data (and other digital objects) by both humans and machines. The guiding principles are caught in the acronym FAIR, which stands for: Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable. FAIR does not mean that data have to be fully open. Rather, the 'A' in FAIR means that it is clear how data can be accessed, and - if applicable- under which conditions. In other words, data that are only shared under certain restrictions can still be FAIR.

Read more about FAIR data

Open research data is defined as data that can be 'freely used, modified and shared by anyone for any purpose’ (opendefinition.org). There is a growing consensus among research funders, institutions and other stakeholders that access to research data should be ‘as open as possible, as closed as necessary’.

Related topics: data management plan, open science, personal data, research data management

Research data management

Research Data Management (RDM) entails all actions needed to ensure that data are secure, easy to find, understand, and (re)use, not only during a research project, but also in the longer term.

According to the RDM policy of Ghent University researchers are encouraged (and sometimes obliged) to write a Data Management Plan (DMP) at the start of their research, to carefully manage and store their research data during their research, and to preserve (and to the extent possible) share relevant data for verification and reuse purposes after their research. If applicable, researchers also need to take into account the RDM requirements of external funding agencies and publishers, as well as relevant legislation (such as the GDPR).

Read more about Research data management

Related topics: data management plan, open science, research data

Research information system

see GISMO

Research integrity

There is no international consensus on the definition of research integrity. In general research integrity is about the attitude and habit of researchers and those involved in research, to conduct their research according to appropriate legal and professional frameworks, obligations and standards. It is considered a part of the basic professional responsibilities of researchers. Research integrity describes an approach for organising and conducting good scientific work. Because of this, it is inherently part of the quality assurance of daily research practice and its results.

Exactly which aspects are involved and how these are organized, is decided by the research community itself. The European Code for Research Integrity or ALLEA code helps realise this responsibility and aims at providing the European comprehensive framework for self-regulation. The Code sets out principles of research integrity, criteria for good research practice, and describes how to prevent violations of research integrity.

Ghent University endorses the ALLEA code and expects every researcher to comply with the principles of integrity in research and ensure the compliance of those around him/her.

Researchers who want to get more hands-on with research integrity are welcome to register for the transferable skills seminar Fostering Responsible Conduct of Research.

Any suspicions of fraud or research misconduct can be reported to the Commission for Research Integrity (CWI).

Read more about Research integrity

Related topics: conflict of interest

Risk assessment

see Health and safety

Scholarly communication

see Research communication

Secondary employment

see Combining research with other activities

Secondment

see Combining research with other activities

Signatures

If a research proposal, letter of intent or offer needs to be formally signed in the name of Ghent University, the rector is the only person entitled to do so. One needs to get in touch with the relevant funding unit of the Research Department in order to take care of the signature procedure.

Read more about (financial) Project management

Surveys

When conducting a survey, chances are that personal data will be collected and/or processed. Personal data are legally protected by the GDPR and researchers must comply to this European privacy legislation. Using a survey to collect ((special categories of) personal) data from research participants might raise specific ethical issues that require an ethical approval.

Survey questions should be developed taking into account the methodological standards within one’s field.

Related topics: ethics in research, personal data

Sustainable travel

see Work-related travel

Training and development

Ghent University offers training and development opportunities to all researchers. These initiatives include formal training, mentoring and other activities to help researchers grow in their different roles (e.g., as professional, lecturer and supervisor). All researchers are strongly encouraged to take a proactive role in their personal and professional development. They must complete the relevant mandatory training (e.g., obligatory courses for researchers who work with lab animals). Supervisors are expected to stimulate the career and professional development of their researchers.

Researchers can attend a wide range of training and development activities organized by the Personnel and other departments.

Related topics: feedback and evaluation, leadership and supervision

Trustpunt

see Psychosocial well-being

Work-related travel

For all work-related travel with at least one overnight stay researchers must submit a travel request via SAP before the trip. Without a travel request a researcher may not be covered by relevant insurance or will not be able to reclaim expenses (if applicable).

Researchers are advised to check if the destination is secure before organising the trip. 

Researchers also need to adhere to Ghent University’s sustainable travel policy.